As enjoyable as fitness can be (and it should be enjoyable), the simple truth is that the goal is also important. And while you should enjoy the process, almost everyone who trains wants to see their body change as a result of their efforts.
If you find yourself working hard, doing everything you think you should, and following a "strict diet" regime, then it’s natural that you’re going to want to see your body change. If that isn’t happening, then it’s well worth investigating what might be going on. Here are 4 important reasons why you are not achieving your fitness goals.
1. Not strength training
Many women think that strength training is something that people do to build muscle, bulk up, and grow their biceps to the size of tree trunks. While you can strength train to that extent, it isn’t a necessity, also it is much harder to achieve for women due to the differences in our hormonal system. Strength training allows you to focus on specific muscle groups, and has myriad health benefits that make it essential for any comprehensive fitness regime.
By introducing strength training to your workouts, you won’t “bulk up”, but you will refine and tone your body in ways that pure cardiovascular work cannot achieve.
2. Not consuming enough protein
Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs. It's role is to aid muscle recovery by being the building block of muscle and other important tissue in our body, but many women simply aren’t eating enough. If you experience any of the signs of protein deficiency, then you’ll need to reevaluate your eating plan and create a strategy to increase your daily protein intake
3. Not incorporating interval training
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fantastic way to boost your metabolism, push your body through its limits to feel the burn and improve your anaerobic energy system for more efficiency. There is also some research data suggesting that performing HIIT 2-3 times a week can aid to lose weight faster than without it.
Its benefits include that you can do it anywhere, even without any equipment, whether you have 5 minutes or 20, you can make sure your body gets a good workout. All you need to do is perform an exercise for a short burst of time (e.g. 10 sec sprint) then recover for a longer period by either resting or performing a low intensity exercise (e.g. 50 sec walking). If you have never tried it, give it a go in a new workout plan. Make sure you start gentle to prevent injuries and go harder as you become more fit.
4. Not sleeping enough
Sleep isn’t just essential for mental fitness, it’s also crucial for your body's recovery. When you are sleep deprived, your body overproduces a hormone called cortisol, which is also known as “the stress hormone”.
If this problem becomes chronic, cortisol can prevent weight loss and damage your route to fitness. It is therefore imperative that you get between seven-to-eight hours of sleep per night to provide your body with a good enough time window to perform all the recovery processes so you can be rested and energized the following day.
If you are not doing the above four things consistently, then you need to make a lifestyle change to incorporate them. There is no cleanse, MLM product, or dietary trend that can compensate for lacking in these four areas.
If you have exhausted the above and still aren’t seeing results, speak to your doctor or naturopathic physician. Thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances may be playing a role.
However, for most women, incorporating the above four elements into their routines will ensure they begin to see the results they desire. If you want to give your training a kickstart, then implementing the ideas above is by far the best way to do it.
Feel free to get in touch if you have further questions or need some goal specific pointers from a coach.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.